Embracing Different Passions
"Do you not know what you want to do with your life?" "Pick one" "You're wasting your time" “You can’t do everything”
All phrases I've heard more times that I could even bother counting. All phrases that for so long made me feel so insecure about the way I was wired. All phrases that constantly had me questioning why I made the life choices that I did--questioning if I was “normal”.
You see, people want to put you in a neat little box and expect you to follow the same path that thousands before you have--the status quo. Not that there's anything wrong with that and not that I have any problem with people who choose that path, but for me personally? I never liked boxes.
In middle school, I was fascinated by law. I spent everyday, every weekend, and all of my free time--winter break included--dedicated to Mock Trial, an educational program in which students have the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of civil/criminal law and courtroom procedures (and actually get the opportunity to participate in simulation trials that imitate exactly how trials are in court). I learned everything from objections and what grounds to make objections on, to stipulations, to how to draft and deliver opening and closing statements, to how to kill it on a cross examination or make even the worst witnesses look good during direct examination, to delivering a rebuttal that won the jury’s hearts.
I was good at it. I was passionate about it. It came almost naturally to me.
Until I was asked--but do you even want to be a lawyer? No, but I liked it. I liked the feeling of being in a courtroom and the challenge of thinking on my feet at all times. But when I moved, I let it go. Like they said, I wasn’t actually going to be a lawyer right?
In high school, I loved writing--so much so that I even wanted to write a book. I was inspired by the way my favorite authors created whole new worlds and brought figments of their imagination to life. My imagination was far too vivid to simply be contained in the confines of my mind. So I wrote. Everyday. I wrote so much that I even called a publishing company (as a 14 year old), discussed the book publishing process and actually started on a manuscript. The day I told a friend about my book publishing plans that process stopped--I was greeted with a “But you’re a medical professions student, why would you want to write a book?”
(***My high school was a career and technical academy and students had majors that we studied for all four years. Mine was Medical Professions en route to Medical School)
In college, I was hungry. Hungry to learn. Hungry to dive into every opportunity that came my way. Hungry to take a stab at anything that I was even remotely interested in. So I did exactly that. I started college with a major in Pre-Nursing and tacked on minors in Spanish for the Professions, Global Entrepreneurship and Biology. I joined the student government even before I started my first day of freshman year. I dove into an array of organizations; everything from greek life, to the honors college, to search committees, to presidential debate committees, to pre-professional health organizations. I studied abroad to chase a passion for the Spanish language and came back to start interpreting at clinics. I started teaching and developed an even more genuine love for learning and sharing that wealth of knowledge. My passion for blogging and fashion magnified. I jumped at every opportunity to see every little bit of the world.
My problem was not that I did not have any interests, it was that I had too many.
And the people around me--friends, family, mentors, professors, random people I would meet--made sure to remind of this.
Some were nicer and said it as compliments. Some made sure to remind me that I would eventually have to choose one. Some just flat out said I was wasting my time involving myself with way too many different things.
From a young age society tells us that we have to choose, to pick one and to only focus on that “one” for the rest of our lives. But what about for the rest of us? The ones that can’t pick one? The ones that don’t want just one thing to focus on for the rest of our lives? What do we do?
What am I going to do? I asked myself this daily.
“I've seen you struggle with knowing if you want med or not since I met you because you're so versatile”
Something a very close friend of mine who has known me for years once told me. It stuck. It boggled my mind because finally someone noticed what I had struggled with for so long.
Versatility is something that is so acclaimed in fashion, in business, in the workplace, and basically everywhere and in everything that you can think of. So why the hell is versatility frowned upon when it comes to what we want to do for the rest of our lives?
For so long, I have struggled with worrying that something was wrong with me, that I was afraid of commitment to just one interest, that I was self sabotaging and scattered because I couldn’t just “pick one” like society was asking me to.
But honestly, after years of fighting this internal battle, I have finally accepted that there is nothing wrong with not being wired this way.
Labs bore me to death. Civic issues and politics give me life. I cannot stand long hours of rigid science and research, but the world of Business and Entrepreneurship fascinates me beyond measure. Fashion feeds my soul and traveling makes me feel happy to be alive. I have a social media obsession that has provided me with a creative outlet to express myself in a way I have never been able to before and has taught me more about marketing and running a business than any class I have ever taken has.
Learning and understanding how the human body works has fascinated me since the day I learned the pathway of circulation through the heart (I was 8) and constantly learning foreign languages has become a hallmark of who I am. Writing soothes my soul more than hot yoga ever has and allows me to bring a whole new world of ideas to life. Working in education makes me feel like I have a purpose in life and my penchant of caring for those in need has deliberately led me to choosing a career path where I can save people’s lives for a living.
So yes, I am unconventional. I was and still am part of organizations and do things that have absolutely nothing to do with my career path. I studied abroad against all advice from my advisors not to do so and continued to take my Honors classes even after I was told to drop them, simply because the classes I took stimulated a genuine love for learning in me. I enjoy the fashion and blogging world beyond words can ever explain, but I also have a genuine love for academia and an incessant desire to learn anything, everything.
So yes, the majority of the things I'm passionate about don’t even remotely correlate with one another. And quite frankly, I am okay with that. No, more than okay--I LOVE it. Why? Because it allows me to simultaneously be a part of different worlds. It gives me perspective. It’s made me adaptable and resilient to whatever life throws at me.
So you know what? Screw the status quo.
Stop telling me I’m wasting my time.
Stop telling me to choose one.
Stop telling me to settle.
Because I won’t.
It just simply isn’t who I am. It is not how I am wired. It will never be something I can do.
My path may not be like YOURS, but I WILL get there. And when I do, I will never have to wonder what it would have been like if I had pursued something different. What my life would have been like if I went down one path, because I already did. I already tried everything that has even remotely piqued my interest and at least I can wake up every day knowing that if it does not end up working out, I at least gave it a try.
So, I am here to tell you (especially my younger followers who are still in school, whether college or high school or maybe even someone facing this same internal struggle): It is OKAY to be curious about many different things. It is OKAY to chase and pursue different paths. It is OKAY to not be able to choose one. It is OKAY to embrace your different passions because at the end of the day, it is YOUR path. It is what is most interesting to YOU. And only you.
I am here as living proof to tell you that finding your passion, your career or what you are meant to do for the rest of your life does NOT have to be a straight line.
After years of feeling like my different passions were detrimental to my end goal and made me seem “fickle” in the eyes of others, I am now honestly so proud of this person that these different passions has built, because I worked so hard and fought against so many odds to become her and to get to this point in my life.
I have finally fully learned to embrace my different passions proudly because it has become such a big part of the person I am now. I can only hope that this encourages you to embrace yours too.
Til’ Next Time,